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Pet ordinance reflects misplaced priorities

Scott Frith
Government/Politics columnist

On this month’s County Commission agenda, commissioner Jeff Ownby has a proposal to modify the local animal welfare ordinance. In media coverage, Ownby claims the proposal will help authorities better protect pets in extreme weather conditions.

Of course, pets already have legal protections. State law prohibits a person from failing to reasonably “provide necessary food, water, care, or shelter for an animal.” If you fail to do so, the police can issue you a citation and seize the animals until the matter can be addressed in court. Even further, Knox County has an ordinance making it unlawful for a person to fail to provide an animal “sufficient shelter and protection from the elements” and medical attention “when it is sick, diseased or injured.”

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Allen sets low bar for ‘tough on crime’

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Lots of folks are wondering how former Knox County Trustee Mike Lowe got such a light sentence after pleading guilty to theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars from county taxpayers.

While he got 10 years, he serves only one year, which will be reduced to seven months assuming good behavior. He was assessed a $200,000 fine, but no schedule was announced for paying it over the next 10 years. What happens if he fails to pay in a timely manner or at all?

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Neighborhood Conference: Crime and safety

Betsy Pickle
Features columnist

Note: The city’s recent Neighborhood Conference drew more than 700 citizens to the Knoxville Convention Center to gather information on how to improve their communities. With 30-odd breakout sessions in three time slots, no one could possibly absorb everything, but the Shopper will be offering a look into three workshops that offered some of the basic and most popular subjects.

Concern about crime unites neighborhoods in every geographic and economic area of Knoxville and Knox County. The workshop “Getting Organized To Fight Crime” brought together city and county law-enforcement officials and neighborhood leaders to talk about problems, successes and strategies.

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Remembering Richard Beeler

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

One summer day in 1988, I got onto an elevator in the Andrew Johnson building with Richard Beeler, a young attorney who represented an outfit called the Knox Solid Waste Authority, a misbegotten city/county agency whose sole purpose was to build and operate a vastly expensive mass burn incinerator.

I’d been looking for a chance to get him alone, because I’d heard that he’d been doing a lot of target shooting at the KPD firing range, and had gotten a carry permit because he was involved in an FBI investigation and was wearing a wire. I dug around and found out that the target was a state legislator. From there, it wasn’t difficult to figure out the probable target.

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Clarence ‘Eddie’ Pridemore, come on down!

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

One way or another, Knox Countians may soon get a real-life demonstration of why elections matter.

Last Friday, Sheriff Jimmy “JJ” Jones came in the door loaded for bear and wasn’t shy about saying why when he made his opening remarks at the E-911 board meeting that had been called for the purpose of coming to a consensus on the contract for a new radio system.

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